Some of the choices made by the Indian selectors on Monday were perplexing. The squad for Zimbabwe has many youngsters, who have done well in the IPL.
However, the lone senior member and skipper – MS Dhoni – does not seem to have been assessed on merit. The selectors also didn’t pick a youngster to lead the side.
The Dhoni-led side will play three one-dayers and two T20s in Zimbabwe. KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal have all been rewarded for their excellent show in IPL.
“Dhoni has already retired from Tests and was very keen on being part of the side going to Zimbabwe,” chief selector Sandeep Patil said. “We also felt that the youngsters should get a chance to play under someone experienced like Dhoni.”
Dhoni has had a poor run in the IPL with his only innings of note, 64 not out, coming in the last league game, well after Rising Pune Supergiants were eliminated.
In the World T20, he scored 89 runs in five games, and was a pale shadow of the formidable finisher of old. In the last ODI series India played, against Australia, the 34-year-old averaged 17.20, with 86 runs from five games.
Yuvraj Singh was ignored despite his India comeback in the World T20, raising questions whether it is the end of the road for the all-rounder.
“We are no one to say if it is the end of the road for anyone. He can still perform and win his place back,” Patil said.
Yuvraj hasn’t enjoyed great success since his comeback. He has also been average for Sunrisers Hyderabad after an ankle injury in the World T20.
The selectors admitted they didn’t watch any IPL game from the stands. “The problem with watching in the stadium is we cannot watch action replays. When we watch on TV, we get a better chance to assess the calibre of a youngster. It’s not that we are against the IPL, it is just that we prefer watching it on TV,” Patil added.